Opposition through the back door in the transposition of EU directives

Thomson, Robert (2010) Opposition through the back door in the transposition of EU directives. European Union Politics, 11 (4). pp. 577-596. ISSN 1465-1165

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Abstract

Are member states less likely to transpose a European Union directive correctly if they disagreed with the directive at the decision-making stage? Existing research provides mixed answers to this question. Most of this research does not consider the role of the enforcement agent, the European Commission, and uses aggregate measures. By contrast, this study considers the impact of the Commission, and focuses on specific provisions in directives. It combines detailed information on states’ disagreement with each provision at the decision-making stage and the quality of national transposition of each provision. The descriptive analysis shows that protracted non-compliance in national transposition is a rare event. The explanatory analysis indicates that states’ policy preferences significantly affect the likelihood of transposition problems, and that this is conditioned by the behaviour of the Commission.